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No cha-chance! 15 high-flying stars who turned down the opportunity to star on Strictly Come Dancing

Mirror logo Mirror 17/08/2017 Laura Connor

Fans are already in a twirl about this year’s Strictly Come Dancing , with many contestant announcements followed by the question, “who?”.

Previous series have featured A-list names, from BGT’s Alesha Dixon to ex-England rugby union star Ben Cohen and former Labour politician Ed Balls .

But the line-up for season 13 seems flatter than John Sergeant’s dancing feet.

It started well with The Saturdays’ Mollie King, TV presenter Ruth Langsford and ex-JLS singer Aston Merrygold.

But others, including Holby City’s Joe McFadden, Scots comic Susan Calman and The Rev Richard Coles, from 1980s band The Communards, have left many fans frantically typing into Google.

Media expert Prof Jonathan Shalit, chairman of talent management firm ROAR, believes big names have been put off by a fear of tripping up their careers.

“People can also fall by the wayside on Strictly and it might be a bit of a risk if your career is going well and then you don’t do very well on the show,” he says.

“Strictly is also a massive commitment. I don’t think it’s a question of famous faces shunning the show, it’s a whether they have the time to do it.”

And we all know it’s usually the underdogs we never knew before who cha-cha-charm their way to the top of the leaderboard. TV presenter Ore Oduba went from average odds of 12/1 to win at the start of the last series to eventually taking home the glitterball trophy.

So which big names have told BBC producers to foxtrot off?

1 David Harewood

The Night Manager and Homeland star, 51, said no to the show in 2013, joking that the tight outfits put him off.

“I was asked to do a rather well known Saturday evening dancing show yesterday. I said no. Strictly speaking it’s not for me. #spandex,” he tweeted.

He’s since gone on to star in superhero TV series Supergirl and The Flash, but luckily avoided the lycra suits in both.

2 Maureen Lipman

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The veteran actress revealed in 2013 she had turned down the show because of the way judges criticise contestants.

The Laurence Olivier award-winner, 71, said: “I turned it down. If anyone talked to me like that panel talk to those people, I’d bop them.

“No. I’ve worked hard all week to be this good, how dare you tell me my bum’s fat? How dare you?”

3 Bradley Wiggins

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Olympic cyclist Bradley happily participated in dangerous ski show The Jump, but shunned Strictly.

The five-time gold medallist, 37, said of reality TV offers after his retirement: “Strictly and all that asked, but The Jump is the only one I would do. I definitely don’t fancy putting on any Strictly Lycra and sparkles.”

4 Michelle Keegan

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The ex-Corrie actress had to turn down the show twice because of her ITV contract. But after hubby Mark Wright took part, Michelle , 30, says she would never want to do it.

“It was so horrible watching Mark,” she said. “I remember seeing how nervous he was and thinking, ‘If he’s like that, I just couldn’t do it’.”

5 Pippa Middleton

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Kate’s little sister was reportedly offered a five-figure sum well above than the show’s standard £25,000 rate.

Strictly chiefs were allegedly “very keen” to sign up Pippa , 33, who got married to James Matthews earlier this year. Show judge Bruno Tonioli said: “She has great buttocks and would look amazing in the dresses.”

6 Louis Walsh

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Louis , 65, was approached 10 years ago, when he was temporarily axed from The X Factor’s panel.

But he turned down the offer when Simon Cowell asked him to return.

Louis said: “The day before the call from The X Factor, I got a call to be a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. I thought, ‘I’d love to do it, just to annoy Simon’.”

7 Melanie Chisholm

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Former Sporty Spice Mel C repeatedly turned the show down because it doesn’t pay enough. The contestants’ £25,000 fee rises to £60,000 if they reach the quarter finals.

But with Mel, 43, selling 80 million records in her girl band days, we can see why such fees might fail to spice up her life. She said: “The problem is if you do Strictly it’s so high profile and you’ll find yourself in the [news] every day. And the money’s sh**.”

8 Noel Gallagher

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He sold millions of albums with Oasis. But High Flying Birds frontman Noel turned Strictly down fearing BBC bosses thought he was “desperate”.

The singer, 50, said: “It was just when Oasis split up and I didn’t do anything for like a couple of years.

“There’s obviously someone there going, ‘You know what. He’ll be up for it now. He’ll be desperate now’.’”

9 Diane Abbott

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The Shadow Home Secretary was proud of Ed Balls last year, but had no interest in learning the rumba herself. Diane , 63, said: “I’ve been offered Strictly, I’ve been offered the jungle, I’ve been offered Big Brother… but they’re not for me.”

10 Noel Edmonds

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He used to be king of Saturday night TV with Noel’s House Party. But Noel has no desire to return to the tea-time slot due to the Strictly curse.

And he should know – his wife Liz used to be a professional dancer.

Noel, 68, said: “They approach me every year. Liz said, ‘Look you’re actually quite good and I could train you’.

“And I said, ‘Do you really want to see me spending eight hours a day for four months draped over some half-naked woman?’.”

11 Linford Christie

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The Olympic gold medallist ran a mile when asked to be on the show, saying he was “the only black guy you’ll meet with two left feet”.

Ex-sprinter Linford, 57, added: “I didn’t fancy it because I’m not a good dancer. I spent so much time training in my youth that I missed out on dancing. I’d love to be able to dance.”

12 Barbara Windsor

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Dame Barbara decided Strictly was too much of a Carry On when she was asked in 2013. The ex-EastEnder, now 80, turned it down due to the intensive work involved. She said: “I have been asked to take part in Strictly but have said no. I think I am at an age where I don’t want to learn any more.”

13 Sir Patrick Stewart

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He may have fought the Borg as Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Sir Patrick wasn’t up for taking on Strictly judges.

The actor, 77, said: “Strictly Come Dancing, it’s a wonderful show. I wanted to [do it] at the beginning. And then the tone, it changed somewhat, and I thought.... yeah, I’ll pass.”

14 Cherie Blair

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Tony Blair ’s wife revealed in 2008 she had been approached, but that it was “clear from the outset” it wasn’t appropriate for her.

Cherie, 62, previously showed off her dancing skills with Strictly dancer Anton du Beke at a charity event in London. But a friend said it would be “unseemly” for the wife of a former Prime Minister to appear on the show.

15 Jessica Ennis-Hill

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London 2012 golden girl Dame Jessica was asked after retiring from athletics last year, but was “not ready”.

The ex-heptathlete, 31, added: “I’ve been asked to do it a few times and I love watching it, but I'm not sure.

“I would be terrible. I’m not ready for Strictly. I’ll stick to my cycle and a bit of running here and there, I think.”


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